Visions of the Body 2005: Sections

  • Photo of Corset
    Corset
    1880s
    © Kyoto Costume Institute
    photo by Takashi Hatakeyama
  • Photo of Maurizio Galante Dress
    Maurizio Galante
    Dress
    Spring / Summer 1992
    © Kyoto Costume Institute
    photo by Taishi Hirokawa
  • Photo of Hussein Chalayan Bodice
    Hussein Chalayan
    Bodice
    Autumn / Winter 1995
    © Kyoto Costume Institute
    photo by Takashi Hatakeyama

Sections

Prologue: Deformed Bodies for Fashion

Any examination of clothing necessitates examining both the clothing and the body wearing it. Western fashion, in particular, has been marked by a relationship between the body and clothing to create forms that reflected the aesthetics of different eras. Until the 19th century, the body was used as the support for female clothing that created diverse and extravagant shapes and forms. The shaping and forming was performed by undergarments such as corsets, crinolines and bustles, essentially “deforming” the female form through the use of “tools”to create a line or shape that was deemed ideal. Women often had to endure great discomfort to realize this ideal.

New Stage for Bodies and Fashion

The 20th century saw the birth of a new relationship between the female body and clothing. The liberation of the body from the corset resulted in a new awareness of the body. This change in body awareness or body image in turn resulted in an increasing diversity of meanings for and possibilities in clothing. New and separate directions emerged for clothing, undergarments and the female form. Clothing sought out unknown avenues of expression, undergarments – hidden until now – became outerwear, while the body itself took fashion’s center stage to become a powerful medium of expression. Another result of the liberation of the female form was the reclamation of skin sensibility or tactility and this period was marked by the introduction of new and unprecedented levels of tactility in clothing. Technological developments of the late 20th century resulted in an ever- increasing growth in human desire and this phenomenon is even transforming the way we view our bodies. The story of the human form is arguably moving into another phase, with the relationship between the human body and clothing about to take another step into the unknown.

  • Photo of Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons Sweater, Skirt
    Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons
    Sweater, Skirt
    Autumn / Winter 1995
    © Kyoto Costume Institute
    photo by Takashi Hatakeyama
  • Photo of Jean-Paul Gaultier Dress
    Jean-Paul Gaultier
    Dress
    Spring /Summer 1987
    © Kyoto Costume Institute
    photo by Takashi Hatakeyama
  • Photo of Jean-Paul Gaultier Dress
    Jean-Paul Gaultier
    Dress
    Spring / Summer 1996
    © Kyoto Costume Institute
    photo by Takashi Hatakeyama

Page Top